I’ve heard a certain statement over the years repeated by many people that goes something like this,
“It really isn’t worth anything other than sentimental value!”
I first recall hearing that line as a child most likely coming from my mother, although all four grandparents might’ve used it as well. As a kid, I wasn’t tuned in to what sentimental value was, yet by my teen years, I began to somewhat grasp the meaning.
Mother had a tiny porcelain figurine of a lamb that her mom once owned. Now worth perhaps a couple of bucks at a garage sale if even that, she hung on the knicknack like it was a crown jewel. Story goes that Mom was fascinated by the figurine as a young girl, yet was forbidden to play with it. Undoubtedly, all five of her sisters were told the same and that’s why it survived.
Going through her things, I could’ve just added it to other stuff being donated to local charity such as the Hospice Retail Store here in Havasu, but that didn’t seem right with this little lamb. Even though the sentimental value of this object didn’t exactly apply to me, its family history does. A handed-down-story was attached to that lamb, and that story with figurine should be passed along to my children and grandchildren. I’ve since learned that what I think here and they think isn’t always the same.
Dad evidently had no use for items of sentimental value, because when he died there were relatively few things left from his childhood. I suppose to folks like him, simple objects from their past were nothing more than useless junk and ended up being tossed or sold. I’ve run into several folks, family and friends, that believe this same way. There’s no right or wrong here so who am I to condemn them.
A friend once told me that antique stores are basically graveyards for people’s stuff. I know what he meant having been to numerous such stores throughout my life. I take things a bit further than Jeff, saying that an antique store is not only a cemetery for items, but a place where sentimental is no longer attached to value.
Some of the stuff found in antique stores and on eBay have no more right being there than a life insurance agent does at a funeral. Family members are well known for “claiming” something of dad, mom, or the grandparents under the guise of sentimental value, only to sell it down the road for financial gain. In some cases that was their intention to begin with.
Thankfully, stuff that my grandparents left behind including my parents has no real financial value. They do possess sentimental value with significant family history still attached. That little porcelain lamb is a prime example. I like to simply hold it, knowing that Mama Haynes once did the same, including Mom and her sisters, although for them it was quickly taken away.
I’ll keep it around, along with an old sewing machine that Grandma Hankins once sat in front of and pedaled, her wrinkled hands teaching me at an early age how to use. You see, in my mind, sentimental and historical value far outweighs the few dollars that can be had for these items. If my kids or grandkids decide to part with either after I’m gone, they’ll hear a couple of great-grandmas yelling at the top of their lungs from way up high!